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Watching Television In A Theater

The story of television’s invention and the competing forces of inventor Philo Farnsworth vs. RCA’s Vladimir Zworykin in the zeitgeist of 1929 has been told by no fewer than five books and countless segments on the Discovery Channel. It is a classic tale of the rise of corporate greed and power vs. the spirit of the independent thinker.

Now the story is about to get a fresh telling in the most unlikely of places: on Broadway. “The Farnsworth Invention,” in previews now and opening on Nov. 14 at The Music Box Theater in New York, stars veteran stage actor (and Simpsons voicer) Hank Azaria as David Sarnoff, the RCA chief that led the battle to quash Farnsworth’s patent claims.

Given that Farnsworth ultimately ended up broke, depressed and drunk, I’m assuming this is a drama and not your typical splashy Broadway musical. But the fact that it was written by Aaron Sorkin, creator of “The West Wing,” intrigues me enough to buy tickets.

Here’s an early take on the project from Cynthia Littleton’s great blog on TWICE’s sister site, Variety.